The Celebrity Mercury cruise ship returned to port in Charleston South Carolina today with over 400 sick passengers.  The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 406 of the 1829 passengers (22.1%) have reported fever, vomiting, and/or diarrhea.

Unlike the last two cruises where the CDC determined that norovirus caused the outbreak, the CDC has not yet determined the cause of the outbreak.  This is probably one of the reasons that the CDC issues a "no travel" advisory for the sick cruise ship.

The traveling public is faced with a cruise line who blames passengers for not washing their hands – the CDC who does not know what the pathogen is or where it’s coming from – and the ugly likelihood that the vessel’s food, water, crew or public surfaces could be contaminated.

We have been inundated with calls and emails from concerned Americans who are scheduled to travel on the Mercury over the course of the next several months.  We also have heard from crew members, including some crew members who complain that although they are sick they are required to keep working.  Some of the work includes changing linens, serving food and delivering ice.  Very disturbing information. 

There is a lot of pressure on crew members to keep outbreaks secret.  We recently ran across a blog from a former crew member who wrote:

I worked on a cruise ship at the beginning of 2001 and we had a lengthy norovirus outbreak – interestingly, the ship did not make the CDC list for that year. Perhaps because we were far away in South America? Or perhaps it was because we were instructed to deny, deny, deny when any passenger asked: No sir, you’re mistaken – the dining rooms are all closed because all the guests are off on tour…not sick in their beds along with half the staff. (Yeah, I was never able to look anyone in the eye and say that.) I never got it, thank God .  .  . "

Here is a recent video from the AP: 




Were you on the last cruise?  Do you have photographs, video or information which may help explain what is happening on the Mercury?  

Let us hear from you.



Video      AP


  • Aurele & Raymonde Drapeau

    We were on that cruise. We are from Canada. I was very sick…they put me in quarantine for 36 hours after waiting more than 9 hours to receive medical attention. I was so weak for 2 extra days I could not do anything. I got sick the 3rd day of the cruise…so I missed 3 ports out of 4. The compagny reinburshed us for the port we did not go, Tortolla. And gave us a 25% off on the next cruise that have to be taken within one year….not very interested to travel again with Celebrity.Before departure we should have been told the whole story and given a choice to go or not to go…we would have travelled to Florida instead and enjoy ourselves for the full 11 days. Thank you for your attention to this very important matter. Raymonde Drapeau

  • Norman Ruffell

    I was on the Mercury cruise that returned on Mar 18. Let me start off by saying that the staff worked very hard and always remained cheerful and helpful during the entire voyage. I have trouble blaming the condition of the vessel or the staff when people were reporting that they did not feel well the very first night of the cruise which is well below the incubation period for the virus. Those passengers were ill when they boarded the ship (even though they may not have known it). Passengers would avoid self reporting their illness and being put into isolation in order to avoid the ADDITIONAL 24 hour isolation period imposed by Celebrity, to be on the safe side, AFTER you were deemed recovered.

    My complaint was with the lack of information and the misinformation that was being broadcast several times a day. We were never told the magnitude of the problem until we docked. We were constantly told that things were improving right up to the time that they cancelled our last port of call. We were not told that they were cancelling our last port of call until 15 minutes before we were to leave the dock yet the decision had to have been made much earlier. We were told that we would receive a 25% credit towards our next trip but were not informed about the one year time limit until you actually tried to book another cruise. Two years would have been a more reasonable time limit given that people often book their cruises 6-9 months in advance and working stiffs may not be able to book another couple of weeks off within that time frame.

    Given the problem on the previous two voyages it would have been nice to have the option to cancel the trip before we flew across the country for this cruise. We did not even know about the problem until we spent the money to fly into Charleston. A little late to make major changes to your travel plans.